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Case Stories

Brand Exploration and Assessment

Understanding competitive brand equity to inform global brand development of a new medication


A leading pharmaceuticals company with a medication in Phase III trials needed to develop the brand positioning and personality in anticipation of a global launch.  The new medication involved a paradigm shift in treatment, and would be facing a wide array of well established branded and generic medications in this therapeutic area. Given this situation, the client wanted to explore the current brand equity with both patients and physicians around the world in order to ensure the development of a relevant, distinct and credible brand strategy at product launch.

HawkPartners’ Approach:

HawkPartners explored a range of qualitative techniques in order to not only understand beliefs about current medications, but also uncover unmet needs in the therapeutic area that this new medication could address.  HawkPartners then employed a series of activation techniques, including word association, image sort and personification exercises, in qualitative focus groups conducted in the US, Europe and Asia to help uncover the physician and patient thoughts and feelings associated with the condition, current medications, as well as the new medication.  These creative approaches uncovered latent perceptions and concerns with current medications that may not have emerged from more traditional lines of questioning.


The global qualitative research results were shared in a collaborative workshop to help the client team identify potential areas of relevance and distinctiveness given current category perceptions. The global qualitative research not only uncovered potential brand strategy directions for the new medication, but was also used by other brand teams facing similar competition in their therapeutic areas in order to hone their go-to-market strategies.